Ben Carson: Thank you. Thank you very much, thank you. Thank you. Well, Candy and I are absolutely delighted to be here with you with today. And that’s Candy right over there. Candy, can you stand up so they can see you. Now, it’s been a few years since I’ve been at Liberty, but we talk about Liberty all the time because that’s what it represents, liberty, freedom from the sneers of the world. And the right kind of teaching and the right kind of values for the young people who will become the leaders of our nation. And you’re such a vital part of the future of this nation.
But, you know, I do want to acknowledge today as Veteran’s Day because I really feel that we don’t do enough for our veterans. When you consider what they did for us. You know, I think about World War II and I think about those soldiers invading the beach at Normandy. Being mowed down by machine gun fire, 100 bodies lying in the sand, 1,000 bodies lying in the sun, sand but did our soldiers turn back? No. Were they frightened? Yes, but did they turn back, no.
They stepped over the bodies of their dead colleagues and they overwhelmed the axis forces, knowing in many cases that they would never see their loved ones or their homeland again. And why would they do such a thing? Not for themselves, but for you and me so that we could be free, so that we could have a land of prosperity. And now the question is what are we willing to do for those who come behind us? And I just want to thank everybody who is a veteran. Do we have any veterans? Can they stand up, please? Thank you, thank you. Thank you.
Such a sacrifice, and something that we all must begin to think about in our lives because there is nothing that is really free, and particularly the concept of freedom. But, you know, we should be so delighted that we live in America. Is there a better place to live than America? I don’t think so. I’ve been to 57 countries and some of them are beautiful places, but I'm always delighted to get back here because there’s something special about the nation that we live in. Have you ever noticed that there is an American way? There’s an American dream. There’s no French dream, there’s no Canadian dream, there’s, you know.
There really is only an American dream and what that means is that there’s something special and something extremely unique about the nation that we live in. And the values that went into making this nation what it is. And some people say there’s nothing exceptional about America, we’re just the same as everybody else. It’s not true. For hundreds of years, even thousands of years before America came on the scene people did things the same way. Within 200 years of the advent of America men were walking on the moon. It’s the most exceptional nation the world has ever known and we are delighted to be here.
Having said that, you know, it’s the land of dreams. And the dream for me as for some of you with your white coats on was to be a doctor. I wanted to be a doctor, you know. I loved anything that had to do with medicine. I even liked going to the doctor’s office. I mean, I would gladly sacrifice a shot just so I could smell those alcohol swabs, you know. I mean, it was great. But the problem was I wasn’t that great a student. In fact, I was a horrible student. And everybody called my dummy, that was my nickname. And I believed it too, I didn’t think I was very smart. And I remember once we were having an argument in the school yard about who was the dumbest kid in the class, it wasn’t a big argument because they all agreed it was me. But then, but then someone had to extend the argument to who was the dumbest person in the world and I said wait a minute, there are billions of people in the world. And they said yep, and you’re the dumbest one.
So, but you know, I did admire the smart kids and I couldn’t even imagine how they could know so much. But there was one person who didn’t think that I was dumb, and that was my mother. She always thought that there was something there. And she would always say Benjamin, you’re much too smart to bring home grades like this. I brought them home anyway but she was always saying that. And she just didn’t know what to do and she prayed and she asked God for wisdom to know what to do to get her sons to understand the importance of intellectual development. And you know what, God gave her the wisdom, at least in her opinion. My brother and I didn’t think it was wise at all. I mean, turning off the TV what kind of wisdom is that.
Making us read two books a piece from the Detroit public libraries and submit to her written book reports, which she couldn’t read but we didn’t know that. And she would put checkmarks and highlights and underlines and we would think she was reading them but she wasn’t. And, you know, people are always saying to me why did you do it? Your mother was always working, she wouldn’t have known whether you read the books or not. Yes she would have. And back in those days you had to do what your parents told you. You know, there was no social psychologist saying let the kid express themselves, you know, so.
And as I read those books incredible things began to happen to began to, to realize particularly as I read about people of accomplishment in all kinds of fields that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is you. It’s not somebody else, it’s not the environment. And that was incredibly empowering to me. And I stopped listening to all the people around me, all the naysayers who talked about what couldn’t be done. And I started thinking about what could be done, what a difference it made in my life. And, you know, fast forward to medical school. I said wow, I made it. I finally got there, my only dream was to be a doctor.
I skipped right over fireman and policeman, went right to doctor. And there I was finally in medical school and it was gonna be great except the first set of comprehensive exams. And I did terribly. And I was sent to see my councilor and he looked at my record he said you seem like a very intelligent young man. I bet there are a lot of things you could do outside of medicine. And he said I should drop out of medical school. He says you weren’t (inaudible).
I was devastated. And I went back to my apartment and I said, Lord, I always thought you wanted me to be a doctor, but it’s not looking very, very good here. And I started praying for wisdom, and I started thinking about what was happening with me. And I was going to a lot of classes, but I wasn’t really learning anything in the classes. And I thought back academically I said the thing that really teaches you a lot is reading.
So I made an executive decision, and I'm not recommending this to anybody. But I made an executive decision to skip the boring lectures and to spend that time reading. And the rest of medical school was a snap after that. And, you know, the point there being that everybody learns in a different way. I personally don’t learn anything from boring lectures, but I learn a lot from reading. Now there are other people who learn a great deal from boring lectures, and that’s how they learn. Other people, you know, they learn from discussions, some people learn from repetition, some people are very visual. One of the other things I discovered is that, you know, I was very visual so I made flashcards for everything that I needed to know.
I had literally thousands of flashcards. I always had a bunch of flashcards in my pocket. And I remember my second year of medical school I was living with my brother who was in the School of Engineering, he even knew all the bacteria and what they were sensitive to because I always had these cards out, you know, talking about it. So, you know, you find out, you know, what works for you and that’s an incredibly important part of what you do and what we do as a society. Because God has endowed us with these amazing brains. And we are made in the image of God. And, you know, I get a lot of grief out there, people say how can you be a scientist and believe that God created the Earth, you know.
Obviously, you know, we developed from a puddle of promiscuous biochemical and if you believe anything other than that you’re a moron. And, you know, I don’t criticize them. I say can you tell me how something came from nothing? And of course they can’t and they say well, we don’t understand everything. And I say okay, no problem. I say I'm just gonna give you that there’s something, okay. And now you’re gonna tell me there’s a big bang and it comes into perfect order so that we can predict 70 years hence when a comet is coming that kind of precision. And they say well, yeah. And I say but don’t you also believe in entropy, that things move toward a state of disorganization? Well, yeah.
So how does that work? And they say well, we don’t understand everything, and I say I'm not sure you understand anything. But, but I say I'm not gonna be critical of you, not a problem because you’re entitled to believe what you believe even though it requires a lot more faith than what I believe. But everybody believe what you wanna believe. And, you know, isn’t that part of the problem with our society today? People want to force their beliefs on everybody else. I believe that the Constitution gives everybody the same rights but it doesn’t give anybody extra rights, and that’s where the problem comes in.
And if we can begin to understand that and we can begin to listen to that then I believe that we can make real progress because that would mean that people whether they believe the same or not could actually sit down and engage in an intelligent conversation and put the reasons that they believe what they believe on the table. Because when you live in a pluralistic society it is absolutely crucial that we learn how to do that. It’s also very vital that we begin to think about each other. We begin to think about those who come behind us.
You know, when I look out there and I see all these young people, you know, I think back to Thomas Jefferson who said that it is immoral to pass debt on to the next generation. And when I think about what my generation is passing on to you guys, I mean, if we could bring Thomas Jefferson here today and let him see what’s going on he would immediately stroke out. I mean, he would not be able to believe the kind of debt that we are leaving there. I mean, $18 plus trillion of national debt. Think about that. If you tried to pay that off at a rate of $10 million a day it would take you over 5,000 years and we’re putting that on your backs. But that’s the good news, because it’s actually much worse than that.
The fiscal gap, the fiscal gap which is the amount of money that the government owes going forward, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, all the government agencies and programs what we owe for that versus what we expect to bring in from taxes and other revenue sources if we were responsible of course those numbers would be almost identical. If you’re not responsible a gap develops there, bring it up to today’s dollars it’s called a fiscal gap that sits at over $200 trillion. Somebody has to be responsible for that, and the only reason we can sustain that level of debt is because we can print money. Because we’re the reserve currency of the world, a position that generally goes with the number one economy in the world which we have been since the 1870s.
Now we’re in competition with China for it, but we still have the title. Would China like to be the reserve currency? Would they like to be able to print money? You bet they would, and they’re working very hard with the Asian International Investment Bank and I don’t know how many years it will be. We have a little reprieve, we have a little time to get our house in order, but not a lot of time because the financial situation is very precarious. If we don’t do something about it soon and it collapses what happened in 1929 on Wall Street will be a walk in the park compared to what will happen. Fiscal responsibility, it is our duty and we can fix these kinds of things. It is possible to get our economy rolling again. We have the most powerful economic engine the world has ever known in this country.
Nothing anywhere close to it. We declared our independence in 1776 and less than 100 years we’re the number one economic power because we had the right kind of atmosphere that encouraged innovation and entrepreneurial risk taking and capital investment and all the things that fueled our rapid rise. Guess what? Those are exactly the same things that will fuel a rapid recovery if we’re willing to look at them and stop doing silly stuff. You know, silly things like putting a kazillion regulations around everything so that it’s very difficult for people to start a business.
Things like, you know, and you think of things like an employer mandate and here you have situation where people used to be so proud when they started a business. And they would call their mother and they would say mom, I started a business. I got 10 employees. And then the next year they had 20 and then 30 and then 40 and now you get to 40 and say oh, better stop. Don’t want to hit 50 and have that employer mandate kick in. Well, that was the very backbone of America, the growth of small business. And we put something in there to stop small business from growing and then we wonder why jobs aren’t coming. And that’s why it’s so important for people to actually understand what’s going on in this country.
If you listened to the news last week you saw a lot of people rejoicing that the unemployment rate is down to five percent. You know, that’s essentially full employment. But if you know anything at all about economics you know that you can make that number anything you want it to be based on who you include and who you exclude and that the real number is the labor force participation rate which is at its lowest level since in 38 years. And that’s why the founders of this nation said that our freedom and our system is based upon a well informed and educated populous.
And if they ever become anything other than that the nature of the country will change because, because if people are not well informed all it takes is unscrupulous politician and news media and off the people go in the completely wrong direction, listening to all kinds of propaganda and inculcating that into their method of thinking. And then it becomes real easy for them to swallow things. If they don’t really understand the financial situation of the country and somebody comes along and says free college for everybody they’ll say oh, what a wonderful person. And they have no idea that all you’re talking about is hastening the destruction of the nation. Well I could talk about the economy for a long time.
But let me just say before we start the Q and A, this nation is an incredibly special place because when you look at our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, it talks about certain inalienable rights given to us by our Creator, also known as God. And we have so many people now who are trying to push God out of our lives. And they take the word of God and they try to negate it and make it seem like if you believe in anything that’s there that you’re some kind of an idiot.
Well, let me tell you our nation’s survival as the pinnacle nation in the world I believe is rooted in our value system, the values and principles that made us into a great nation. And the real question is are we willing to stand up for those values and principles or will we allow ourselves to be intimidated by the secular progressives. The secular progressives don’t care whether you agree with them or not as long as you sit down and keep your mouth shut. And I think that the secret to the prosperity in this nation is we must be willing to stand up for what we believe in. Thank you. Thank you.
David Nasser: (Inaudible) few questions that we have for you. These questions really come from our student body.
Ben Carson: Okay.
David Nasser: We asked our student government if they would just submit a few questions and just grateful for you giving us the time to do this Q and A. Question number one, Dr. Carson, the moral ground in this country has been shifting dramatically in the last few years, none more obvious than on issues like marriage. As a man of faith yourself how would you govern in a society where traditional values like marriage seem to be the minority view?
Ben Carson: Well, I think you can, you can use the bully pulpit in very effective ways to once again level the playing field. You know, the First Amendment is incredibly important. It talks about freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, but freedom of religion. And we have got to encourage all the branches of the government to work effectively with checks and balances. What we’ve seen recently is the Legislative Branch, which is the branch that represents we the people, has more or less been acting like the peanut gallery. Which means that the, that the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch are over stepping their boundaries and we’re gonna have to have a President who is willing to work with the Legislative Branch to put things back in order again. Specifically we need legislation to protect the religious freedoms of people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.
David Nasser: Yes, sir. Thank you for that, Dr. Carson. One of our students wants to know, Dr. Carson, you have proposed the idea of a flat tax even likening it to tithing as it refers to, you know, proportional giving. Could you elaborate a little bit more about the flat tax as it reforms, and tax reform?
Ben Carson: Yes. Yeah. Well, you know, the reason I liken it to tithing is because I believe that God is the fairest individual that there is, and if he thought it was fair I think it must be pretty fair. You know, basically you make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10 you pay one and you get the same rights and privileges, pretty hard to be more fair than that. And you’re gonna get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. And everybody is then proportional. Now the my proposal takes into consideration poverty, and at the poverty level you get a rebate. But we don’t change the system because the minute you change the system and allow just one crack in it everybody starts moving toward that crack and then pretty soon you have another and then you wind up with a 75,000 page tax code like we have right now.
That’s what we don’t want. Now some people say but it’s not fair because, you know, the guy who put in a billion he’s still got nine billion left, we need to take more of his money. Well, that’s called socialism and, you know, that just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. And then the guy who put in $1 he only had 10, some people say well that’s not fair because he can’t afford to put in a dollar. Of course he can afford to put in a dollar. He can afford to drive on public roads and send his kids to public school, and I can tell you having come from that bottom percentile I can tell you that people down there also have pride. And they want to carry their own weight, they don’t want somebody patting them on the head saying that. And, and then the people say well the mortgage deduction I’ll lose my house.
No they won’t, because they’ll have so much more money in their pocket they’ll be easily able to pay their mortgage and there are some who say there will be no more charitable deductions, all the churches will dry up. Well they don’t realize that there were lots of churches in America before 1913 when the federal income tax went in place. And as people have, have more money in their pocket they’ll actually put more money in the plate when the time comes by, not less. It’s not gonna be a problem.
David Nasser: That’s fantastic. This is one of the main things that our students wanted to know and it’s interesting that you asked the Lord for wisdom. You were saying that in your time with us when you were speaking a few minutes ago. Obviously a lot of our students believe that you have a lot of wisdom to dispense. Students want to know if you could give a college student one piece of advice, if you could go back to when you were in college, you could go back and say I wish somebody had come in front of me and had addressed me or had said this one piece of wisdom to me what advice would you give?
Ben Carson: My advice would be Proverbs 3:5 and 6. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” You know, I have, I have clung to that through all kinds of adversity in my life. I cling to it now, you know, when so many in the media, you know, want to bring me down because I represent something that they can’t stand. But the fact of the matter is in Romans chapter 8 it says, “If God before you who can be against you.” You don’t have to worry.
David Nasser: Thank you, sir. The one question that we ask whether it’s a business tycoon or whether it’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner or a politician that comes our way in our Q and A is always the same question.
Ben Carson: I'm not a politician.
David Nasser: That’s right. What how can we specifically be praying for you? And I want you to know that that is not just a cliché spiritual thing that we just say out loud. Our students really do commit to pray for you and your family. We know that this is an incredibly busy time.
Ben Carson: Yeah.
David Nasser: And so how can we be specifically praying for you when we see on you on TV and we think there’s the Carson family, there’s the team there?
Ben Carson: Well, you know, why did I even get involved with the world of politics? People say you had a successful career in medicine, why would you get into the slimy world of politics? And I ask myself that frequently, too. But, you know, when I got the call to be the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast for 2013 I said, Lord, what are you up to? Because I had done it in 1997 and I wasn’t aware anybody ever did it twice. And then I found out that one person had done it twice, and that was Billy Graham. And then I really knew he was up to something, and I said what does the Lord want me to say.
And I kept writing things down and I said no, that’s not it. And I right up until the night before the Prayer Breakfast I still didn’t know what it was. But when I awakened that morning it was so clear what I was supposed to say, and it obviously resonated with millions of people. And people started clambering for me to run for President, which I thought was pretty absurd. And I said why would I even be thinking about something like that. I'm gonna retire, I'm gonna relax with my wife and have fun. But I said just ignore all that chatter out there, that will die down. But it didn’t die down, it kept building and building. And all of the political professionals were saying Carson run for President, are you kidding me, that’s ridiculous.
He’s not connected to any of the money, you know, he doesn’t know anything, he has never been elected to public office, it’s impossible. Don’t even think about it. And I said I'm glad to hear that, that’s but you know it kept going. And I finally said, Lord, you know, this was not on my bucket list but if you truly want me to do this all the pundits say it’s impossible, but nothing is impossible for you. So if you open the doors I will walk through them.
And he began opening the doors, we were able to put together an incredible team, including one of your alums, Dean Parker there. And we in terms of the money they said that’s impossible, you can’t raise that much money. Well, interestingly enough we now have over 900,000 donations from average Americans which they never anticipated that we the people could fund a campaign, they always thought it had to be the billionaires and the special interest groups.
But the way it was actually designed is that it should be we the people and it was designed for citizen statesmen and not for career politicians and I believe the people are beginning to understand that. So I am, I am hopeful that the people will pray for courage, for stamina, for protection for me and my family, and for the eyes of the nation to be opened to what’s going on. Because the problems that we have in this nation they’re not Republican problems or Democrat problems, they’re problems that affect all of us. And we have to recognize that one of the goals of those who want to fundamentally change our nation is to pull our nation apart.
And hence they’ve created the perception that there is a war on women, that every time there’s any conflict between people of two races there’s race wars, that there’s income wars, that there’s age wars, that there’s religious wars, the Democrats hate Republicans, that Republicans hate Democrats. And you keep people at each other’s throats and then we forget what’s truly important. What’s truly important is our unity and we have a lot more that unites us than the things that divide us. And we must remember this is United States of America.
David Nasser: My wife and I got to be at that Prayer Breakfast that morning, it was you and Andrea Bocelli leading worship at that breakfast. And I remember the one thing that everyone at our table continued to agree upon was that you were a man of courage, you were speaking some hard truths even with people in the room that don’t necessarily agree with you. With the President sitting right next to you, but at the same time there seemed to be more of a spirit of unity, and really the one thing that I think we all really love and appreciate about you, sir, is your humility and the way that you carry yourself as a believer, and so thank you for that.
We’ll be praying for you. Let’s, let’s all pray could we, let’s all just let’s stand together and just pray for Dr. Carson and his wife and his team and his family. Father, thank you, thank you, Lord, for a man who understands that leadership begins at the feet of Jesus. Thank you, Father, for just this person that you have called out for such a time as this to be a voice of reason, to be, God, a testimony for you. We pray, Father, for stamina, for him and his family we pray for margin in this very busy season. We do pray, Father, for courage. We thank you that, Lord, that all of those things bring the very thing he wants to see in this country, they bring unity. Thank you, that we are the United States of America, thank you that even though we might not agree on secondary issues that we can come together, God, and recognize as a nation that we’ve been called to do together what we could never do alone.
And we do look for a leader. Lord, if this is the leader that you’ve called for us we pray that, Father, that would be very clear to people. We pray against confusion and division and we pray, Father, that there would be just crystal clarity, Father, for us as your people on how to serve, Father, your kingdom first and then be great citizens of this nation whoever that leader is. Father, I thank you for the team that you’ve assembled to lead with Dr. Carson and we pray for them, give them wisdom, give them discernment. God, in this very busy season allow him, Father, to also be a witness and a testimony with the very peers that he has that are running alongside of him. We’re grateful, Father, for this time that you’ve given us. We sit under your authority. We pray this in your name. Amen.
Ben Carson: Amen.
David Nasser: Can we put our hands together for Dr. Carson, Mr. Carson, thank you again.
just because science cant answer questions doesnt mean you should take a book that has been re-wriitten over 50 times, over the course of 4000 years. if that were the case, science cant cure cancer, so clearly all the work they do is bullshit, so why dont religious people use there bible to cure cancer, cause it has all the answers to big questions that science fails to answer. but i mean why would god allow us to get cancer, but not give us anyway of stopping it? thats a question dr carson should ask